If you’ve graduated from a rehab program, you’re likely still being asked to take part in alumni events and even to visit the clinic on an ongoing basis. A lot of that is for you, with programs and events intended to help you stay inspired, accountable, and in recovery. But, some of that is also for new attendees for programs. And, that’s sometimes because the simple act of inspiring and helping others to meet their recovery goals can help you stick to yours as well.
Inspiring and helping other people can be a powerful motivator to your own recovery – and that’s one of the reasons why so many people in addiction recovery end up working as coaches, counselors, and therapists for future generations of people trying to get clean. While it’s important that you don’t get involved with people struggling with addiction too soon after your own recovery, there are plenty of ways you can inspire new members to get and stay clean.
People are often told that addiction is about nature. “Once an addict, always an addict”, it’s not what you were exposed to, it’s who you are. In the middle of social media stigma and sharing about “Addictive personalities”, it’s important that people get to learn about how people can actually change. Today, we know addiction is a complex and multifaceted thing and that genetics can increase your risks of it, upbringing can increase your risks of it, but you can always change your behavior and your coping mechanisms and learn to live without drugs and alcohol.
As an alumnus of a recovery program, you’ve also shown that’s true. You’re living proof that people can change. And you can inspire new people to believe in themselves. If someone else went from a similar situation to one in recovery, they can too.
Sharing that can be difficult. Often that will mean taking part in events, sharing about your past, and sharing your circumstances leading up to treatment. Showing that you’re relatable and no different than they are is important. Simply showing up and sharing how you made the same journey they are making is enough to be impactful. And, that means you can inspire others by keeping up with your own journey and sharing it on occasion.
Sharing your progress, experiences, and hangups can be difficult. Often, we only ever want to talk about our successes. And, it may be true that you sailed through recovery. However, chances are you were met with hangups, you relapsed, you needed additional treatment, that you struggled with some elements of therapy or others – and eventually, if you’re part of the alumni now, you moved on and you kept learning and growing. That journey is much more important than the idea that you somehow moved from A to B without any difficulty. In fact, sharing your hangups and slips can show others that they too can recover after failing. Some things that may be valuable to share include:
Essentially, your success isn’t just about everything going well. It’s also about showing new members that things won’t always go smoothly and that rehab and recovery keeps going. If you did it, they can too.
Recovery is an ongoing process and you’ll keep learning and growing. Spending time with new members as part of an alumni program might surprise you with how much you learn and grow from that experience. Getting to learn together and showing that you’re still learning, working on yourself, and open to change and improvement will help new people to get clean and sober and to stay that way. Why? It shows the mindset they need and how no one is ever perfect or finished. You can’t live in stasis, you have to keep learning, changing, and growing – and that’s what you’ll do at an alumni event.
Of course, you don’t have to go out of your way to do this, just show up, be involved, and make sure you’re open to change and ongoing improvement.
Almost everyone has their own perspective or unique experience of an event. And, as someone who’s been through treatment, you know what you wished you’d paid more attention to, what provided the most value, what you’re most grateful for. You also know what you did wrong, what you’d like to change if you did it again, and how you would have changed moving back into your daily life. Offering those perspectives can be immensely powerful to new members. That’s not only true because it makes the fact that you did go through treatment and into recovery more real – but also because it gives people new perspectives on their treatment. That may be something they’ve been resistant to. It may be to something that treatment is trying to help with. It might also be something as simple as giving someone insight into how treatment applies to real life after they leave – which can help them prioritize it and feel as though it is important. Your experiences can be quite impactful to someone who has no idea what to expect or what they are getting into.
Alumni events are often mostly about you. They aim to help you stay clean and sober, to stay accountable, and to stay motivated. Helping others and inspiring new members can help with that. Whether that’s by showing others that change is possible, by being a good example, by providing insight, or by helping people relate to their treatment will depend on the situation and on you. However, it does mean that alumni events will almost always be good for you and good for the people you are trying to help.
If you live near your facility, you can also try volunteering and dropping by to talk to new members. However, it’s important that you take care of yourself. That means staying away from people with drug and alcohol related problems until you have the habits and the coping mechanisms to deal with cravings and triggers in a healthy way. Otherwise, you could be putting your recovery at risk by trying to help others. However, if your rehab center thinks you’re ready, it’s probably a good sign that you are.
Good luck meeting the new members of your treatment center.
Asana Recovery is located in Orange County, California. and offers detox, residential, and outpatient addiction treatment services in our modern and comfortable addiction treatment facilities. Please contact us today to speak with one of our experienced addiction treatment team if you have any questions about our programs.